Ukrainian Orthodox Church Convenes Sobor In New Jersey

Priests, deacons and lay delegates of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States gather at a Sobor in South Bound Brook, New Jersey last week. Courtesy photo

This newly-completed icon of the Theotokos Pantanassa (Queen of All) was presented to the national church during the Sobor. Courtesy photo

Father Theophan Mackey was presented with the Metropolitan John Theodorovych Medal in recognition of his work with Saint Sophia Seminary. Courtesy photo

Vespers in Saint Sophia Chapel. Courtesy photo

One of the gold crosses presented to each priest during the Regular Sobor in commemoration of Metropolitan ANTONY’s 50th year of ordination to the holy priesthood. Photo by Father Theophan

St. Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Church
Los Alamos

Last week, October 10-15, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America convened their 23rd Regular Sobor in South Bound Brook, New Jersey. It was presided over by His Eminence, Metropolitan ANTONY and His Eminence, Archbishop DANIEL, and attended by the priests and deacons of the church as well as lay delegates from their parishes. Blessings and greetings were sent to the Sobor from all around the world including His All-holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

I was honored to represent Saint Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Church here in Los Alamos, New Mexico as a full member parish again this year. Two of our parishioners, Tyler Jordan and Mattea Veith, joined me as our lay delegates. 

The Sobor, which means “cathedral” in the Ukrainian language, is an assembly called to make decisions and elect officers for the national church. It also provides a time for connection and fellowship between clergy and laity who may not have regular contact. A Regular Sobor is convened here in America every three years. 

During the week, the hierarchs and clergy served the Divine Liturgy every morning and led the faithful in different prayer services each evening. The Saint Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary choir led the faithful beautifully throughout. 

Reports from the different ministry offices were presented to the Sobor: Youth, Camping, Marketing, Finance, SSUOTS, and Saint Sophia Library, etal. 

Awards were bestowed for service in the educational work in the church. I was presented with a Metropolitan John Theodorovich medal for my work with Saint Sophia Seminary. 

We celebrated His Eminence, Metropolitan ANTONY’s 50th year of ordination to the holy priesthood, and he presented each priest with a gold cross to commemorate the anniversary. 

A newly-completed icon of the Theotokos Pantanassa (Queen of All) was presented to the national church and copies were distributed to the delegates that were present. Along with the new icon, a new Akathist (prayer services) was distributed. It is a special intercession for those who have cancer, those who have survived it, and those with other lingering and debilitating diseases. The Akathist will be served at Saint Job on the first Friday of every month at 5:30pm. 

In between business meetings, reports, and break-out sessions we ate bountifully at UOC of USA cultural center. The joy of the Lord was evident throughout all our activities.

During this Sobor, difficult issues were addressed; issues that will change the face of the UOC of USA in the coming years and affect it for decades to come. We prayed constantly that our decisions would be blessed and fruitful and correct. We trust our hierarchs; we trust our metropolitan council. Through the grace, mercy, and love of God, all will be well.